Cloning Science Makes Secretariat and American Pharoah Match Race a Reality

Synergistic Sport Horses, Inc. recently released a statement confirming a three race series featuring head-to-head matches between the legendary Triple Crown winner, Secretariat, and the most recent winner, American Pharoah.

Months ago, we shared this viral video of an imagined match race, pitting the respective Belmont Stakes of Secretariat and American Pharoah side-by-side. (Check out the replay here.)

Little did we realize, however, that this imagined race would actually ever become a reality — until now, thanks to the science of cloning.

Photo (c)

Photo (c)

Not only does this series promise to be a fabulous spectacle from a purely racing standpoint, but it has far reaching implications for the age old argument regarding nature versus nurture.

This is of course because this particular grudge match has been made possible due to the advanced science of cloning. The actual horses to be pitted against each other are clones of the original winners; you know, since it’s somewhat difficult to race a dead horse and all. Both clones were created from skin cells of the original horses—a project undertaken by Synergistic Sport Horses, Inc. and its owner and founder, Dr. Tony Brown.

“The science of cloning has just come so far recently and become much more accepted in both the scientific and public sectors that I couldn’t pass up this sort of opportunity,” Dr. Brown stated in a recent interview.

Brown went on, noting “what a wonderful, and exciting time to be alive! Not only does cloning give us the chance to witness two legendary horses from two entirely different eras compete, but it should also shed some light on how much of their raw talent and their ability to win lies in their DNA versus in their unique selves or as a result of their environment and training.”

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

While there is clearly spectator appeal in the races themselves — which will feature a match up on all three legs of the famed Triple Crown, Dr. Brown maintains that a large portion of this project is purely scientific in nature.

“Both horses were cloned at exactly the same time so that they will be as close in age as possible. Additionally, both will be raised on the same farm with the same surroundings and then be sent to the same trainer to bring along in an attempt to isolate the genetic variable. Obviously this isn’t perfect, but it’s a start and should garner some interesting data. This truly has the potential to give us clues as to what extent we are our DNA,” said Brown.

As excited as some racing fans and those in the scientific community are, there has still been some backlash from anti-cloning groups and the Jockey Club itself. Thanks to some legislation that began in 2013, the AQHA was forced to allow cloned horses into its registry (that has since been repealed but the lawsuit is still underway to revisit it). While this was in court, the Jockey Club made their stance clear that they would also not allow the registration, and thus the racing of clones. They issued the following statement in an article, The Sport of Kings, and clones?:

The facts involved in the AQHA case are very different from those applicable to the registration of Thoroughbreds and the decision in that case has no bearing on the rules for registering Thoroughbreds. The Jockey Club, as an organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred racing and breeding, believes that the short- and long-term welfare of the sport of Thoroughbred racing and the Thoroughbred breed are best served by the current rules.

Given such a stance, it is not shocking that the Jockey Club is keeping their distance from this particular spectacle, refusing to register the clones or comment on the races themselves.

At the moment, the races are slated to start in 2018, and tickets to attend each race as well as packages for the entire ‘experience’ will go on presale this summer. For more information and pricing you can visit Synergistic Sport Horses.

Go Riding!

Morgane Schmidt Gabriel is a 32-year-old teacher/artist/dressage trainer/show announcer/ who still hasn’t quite decided what she wants to be when she grows up. A native Floridian, she now lives in Reno, NV, where she’s been able to confirm her suspicion that snow is utterly worthless. Though she has run the gamut of equestrian disciplines, her favorite is dressage. She was recently able to complete her USDF bronze and silver medals and is currently working on her gold. Generally speaking her life is largely ruled by Woody, a 14.2 hand beastly quarter horse, Willie, a now beastly 5-year-old Dutch gelding, and Stormy, her friend’s nearly all white paint gelding with a penchant for finding every mud hole and pee spot in existence. Visit her website at

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